Prop 8 Revenge: Mormons Meddled in California Politics to Stop Gay Marriage in 2008, Now Marriage Equality Is the Law in Their Own Home State

A pro-marriage advocate protests Mormon meddling in the 2008 Prop 8 debate outside the LDS tabernacle in West Los Angeles

The sudden legalization of a gay marriage in Utah, of all places, will likely go down as the biggest and best pleasant surprise in the American civil rights movement last year. The fact that gay people are exercising their fundamental right to marry in a state that is a de facto right-wing religious theocracy is a huge step forward.

In California, the fact that Utah, the Mormon stronghold, has become the 18th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize marriage equality has been quietly celebrated with a soupçon of schadenfreude. Like a nice gazpacho, as they say, revenge is best served chilled.

After all, it was just five years ago, in the 2008 election season, that the Mormon Church chose to interfere in California politics by funding a nasty anti-gay campaign that many Californians believe led to the passage of Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that rescinded marriage equality in California.


Pelosi Reacts to Bachmann on Rainbow Rulings

Who cares?

– Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacting to Minnesota Tea Party Rep. Michele Bachmann reacting to the Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8 by saying, “Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.”

Rally in West Hollywood Celebrates Supreme Court Decisions on DOMA, Prop 8

Proposition 8 lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson, along with their clients and West Hollywood and Los Angeles city officials and a crowd of thousands, rallied in West Hollywood last night to celebrate the Supreme Court’s rulings yesterday that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act and a finding on Prop 8 that could lead to the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

Unfortunately, the demise of Prop 8 may not be a slam dunk. The foes of marriage equality are not done and the grindingly slow processes of the federal courts may give them a window of opportunity in which to delay the reinstatement of marriage rights in California. The 9th Circuit Court has already announced that due to procedural technicalities there will be at least a 25-day delay before marriage licenses can be issued to same-sex couples in the state — an announcement that essentially countermanded state Attorney General Kamala Harris’ order to county clerks to begin issuing the licenses within two days after the ruling.

Marriage-rights opponents will almost undoubtedly use the delay to litigate against overturning Prop 8:


Leading Psychiatrist Recants Study Suggesting Gays Could Be Cured

In just 28 years, Dr. Robert Spitzer went from hero to betrayer among advocates of gay civil rights. In 1973, he led efforts to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. But in 2001, he released a study that suggested that homosexuality could be cured. Now he has recanted the 2001 study and apologized to gays who have been harmed.

The harm has been significant in that hate groups have often cited the 2001 study in their lawsuits to restrict civil rights for gays, including the Proposition 8 case in California. The study was so foundational to the hate groups’ case in support of Prop 8 that some legal scholars believe it may be the final strew that leads to striking down the anti-gay marriage amendment to the California state constitution that was added when the initiative passed.

Now Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out has interviewed Dr. Spitzer about his recanting of the study and concomitant apology. Highlights are here.

Support for Marriage Equality Rises to 59% in California, an 11 Point Increase from Prop 8 Vote Four Years Ago


A new survey from the Field Poll — the gold standard for polling in California — finds that approval of gay marriage has risen to 59 percent. This is a 6.7 point increase from 2009, when support in the same poll was 52.3 percent.

Disapproval has dropped to 34 percent, from 47.7 percent three years ago.

The new numbers also suggest an even more dramatic, double-digit increase in support from just four years ago, when voters passed Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to rescind marriage rights for gays.


Anti-Gay Prop 8 Ruled Unconstitutional by 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

art-love-unitesThis is good news but because haters can’t stop hating, they will seek a stay to prevent marriages from resuming in California, which will almost certainly be granted.

Here’s coverage of the announcement by the Los Angeles Times:

A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage as early as next year.

The 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that limited marriage to one man and one woman, violated the U.S. Constitution. The architects of Prop. 8 have vowed to appeal.

The ruling was narrow and likely to be limited to California…

“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

The ruling upheld a decision by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down the ballot measure in 2010 after holding an unprecedented trial on the nature of sexual orientation and the history of marriage.

In a separate decision, the appeals court refused to invalidate Walker’s ruling on the grounds that he should have disclosed he was in a long term same-sex relationship. Walker, a Republican appointee who is openly gay, said after his ruling that he had been in a relationship with another man for 10 years. He has never said whether he and partner wished to marry.

ProtectMarriage, the backers of Proposition 8, can appeal Tuesday’s decision to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit or go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court is expected to be divided on the issue, and many legal scholars believe Justice Anthony Kennedy will be the deciding vote.

Gay GOP Stockholm Syndrome Victims’ Group to Break Boycott of Prop 8 Homophobe’s Hotel

photo-maprnchester-boycottProposition 8 is back in the news in California. In San Francisco, closing arguments were heard yesterday in the federal civil trial in which opponents are seeking to overturn the anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution passed by voters in November. Whatever the outcome of the trial, the case will undoubtedly be appealed, and could well be heard before the Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court.

This would be laughable if it weren’t such a pathetic display of Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon that results when subjugated people come to identify with and even join the cause of their oppressors — think Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Meanwhile, GOProud, a new national Republican gay organization, has announced it has chosen the Grand Hyatt hotel in San Diego as the venue for an event next month, despite the fact that the hotel is under a boycott by gays and others because its owner, Doug Manchester, was an early donor to Prop 8.

If Manchester hadn’t given $125,000 to the mostly out-of-state anti-gay operatives seeking to prevent gays in California from marrying in 2007, it’s unlikely Prop 8 would have been an issue in the November 2008 election. The anti-gay activists used Manchester’s money to pay professional signature-gatherers to collect the 700,000 signatures required to get Prop 8 on the ballot that year.

At the time, Manchester, a Catholic, said, “When they say that we cannot say that a marriage is between a man and a woman, that’s where I draw the line.”